So I figured this would be something you out there in Nittany Land would eat up and discuss amongst yourselves.
I’ve decided to give you, the valued reader, the top ten guys I think will make the biggest impact this season. Other news and notes of the day follows below this.
No. 10 IMPACT PLAYER: JEREMY BOONE, PUNTER
Now, before you laugh and ask why a punter makes the top ten, here’s how this whole thing broke down when I really thought about it. Five offensive players, four defensive and one special teams (Boone.)
So why Boone? Why not. It’s a Big Ten football team, that will play meaningful games in cold weather where a defensive effort will have to win it (See, State, Ohio, 2008) and Boone’s foot will be needed to set up that defensive effort.
Boone’s value became apparent two years ago when he took over for Jeremy Kapinos and averaged 39.4 yards per punt and we all remember what Kapinos did in the Orange Bowl to essentially bail PSU out.
Last season Boone really wasn’t needed as much because the offense was more prolific. He got out of the ’07 flow a little bit, but averaged 43-yards per punt and dropped 15 inside the opposing 20-yard line.
A lot won’t realize his importance until after the season, but trust me, Boone will have an impact.
NEWS AND NOTES
There’s been a lot said (via Twitter) about Evan Royster’s “snub” on the Doak Walker list. A couple of blogs (among them First and Big Ten) picked up on the fact that Penn State missed an apparent earlier-than-usual deadline to nominate running backs for the preseason watch list put out by the award committee.
Look, there’s no doubt Royster is the best back in the Big Ten. He might have been last year had it not been for Daryll Clark’s outstanding performance and the fact that the offense had to share the total wealth.
Royster was a semifinalist for the award last year, so there’s no question he hasn’t regressed or anything like that. He will be on that list at the end of the year, barring injury.
Which leads me to a soapbox rant.
These “watch lists” and preseason teams, and preseason polls for that matter, amount to squat. I go back to my rant last week about Daryll Clark. You’re telling me the best quarterback in the Big Ten at the END of 2008, returns yet he isn’t the best in the conference to open 2009?
Makes no sense.
I get that you can go 50-50 on Clark or Terrelle Pryor, and Pryor probably has more upside because he will start at QB longer in college than Clark did. Fine. But it still makes no sense.
So essentially what I am saying is this. Pick a favorite and an order in each conference, but lets ditch these watch lists and preseason teams when in the end, they could amount to, well nothing.
On the flip side of that argument, if you are a school and you have a worthy candidate for an award and going under the current way, we keep picking these damn things, please, promote your player properly.
As a member of the FWAA, I get stuff in my mailbox almost on a weekly basis pimping a player from said team. So far this year it was an Ole Miss media guide, stuff from Oklahoma already, a CD from Illinois telling me that Juice Williams and Regis Benn are the best QB-WR duo in the Big Ten, that’s all fine, but I have to raise the point…we don’t see much of that from PSU.
Every once in a while we get a notepad with a three or four players on it of note, but instead of leaving the promotion up to us writers on the beat, Penn State should kick in and do it’s players worthy a service and use its own hype machine to get the message out.
Give Director of Football Branding, Guido D’Elia a week to put something together on Daryll Clark, Evan Royster, Sean Lee, whomever, and let him run with it. Make these guys available every week to TV or have them do chats with Adam Rittenberg, whatever the case, get the message out.
We writers can only write so much in so little space these days.
-end soap box-
ROSE BOWL CHANGES
Kudos to BCS Watch for adding some detail to this tidbit.
Beginning next season (not the one starting in a few weeks, but the ’10 season), we could be void of subpar USC beatdowns in Rose Bowls to come.
The rule stipulates that the first time over the next four years that either the PAC-10 champion or the Big 10 champion gets in the National Championship game, the Rose Bowl will be obligated to select an eligible team from a non BCS conference, if one exist, as a replacement. This is something Rose Bowl would rather not do, but without this stipulation, the burden of accepting a non BCS conference team would more often fall on the other three BCS bowls – which they rightfully believe to be a little unfair.
So there you go. If a Big Ten or Pac-10 team makes it to the national title game, the Rose Bowl is obligated to look at the Utah’s and Boise State’s of the world. It’s a good move. And it’s one that didn’t involve some government debate on Capitol Hill.
Results probably won’t be any different if say BYU gets in there against a USC, but at least for one day it’d save the Big Ten from being the national whipping boy (that is assuming a Big Ten team makes the title game and, you know, actually wins it.)
Back tomorrow with No. 9 on the countdown.
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